Until w scholars have looked for the source of the indomitable Tommy morale on the Western Front in innate British bloody-mindedness and irony, t to mention material concerns such as leave, food, rum, brothels, regimental pride, and male bonding. However, re-examining previously used sources alongside never-before consulted archives, Craig Gibson shifts the focus away from battle and the trenches to times behind the front, where the British intermingled with a vast population of allied civilians, whom Lord Kitchener had instructed the troops to 'avoid'. Besides providing a comprehensive examination of soldiers' encounters with local French and Belgian inhabitants which were t only unavoidable but also challenging, symbiotic and uplifting in equal measure, Gibson contends that such relationships were crucial to how the war was fought on the Western Front and, ultimately, to British victory in 1918. What emerges is a vel interpretation of the British and Dominion soldier at war.
Craig Gibson has published widely on Allied relations in the First World War and the role of military discipline in troop/inhabitant relationships. He has received awards from the Historial de la Grande Guerre, Peronne, Somme; the Australian War Memorial, Canberra; and the Camargo Foundation, Cassis, Bouches-du-Rhone.
Cambridge University Press
Date of Publication
Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare